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It’s time to cut off Qatar’s unseen hand in fueling global antisemitism

Qatar spends up to $1 trillion in assets to support terror and spread antisemitism, including, perniciously, on US college campuses
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists gather for a protest at Columbia University, October 12, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/ Yuki Iwamura)
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activists gather for a protest at Columbia University, October 12, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/ Yuki Iwamura)

“Never Again” was supposed to be more than a phrase. Yet on October 7th, we were once again faced with Jews hiding in their homes, being burned alive, children killed in front of their parents, parents killed in front of their children. In fact, more Jews were murdered on October 7th than on any day since the Holocaust, as were dozens of Arabs, Thais, Nepalese, and more.

One cannot understand this unimaginable carnage, and the failure of “Never Again,” without considering the role played by antisemitism in Hamas’s murderous ideology. It is in their charter. It is in their textbooks. It is engrained in their desire to destroy Israel and kill Jews, based on the very same words, lies, and ideology that was used to justify the murder of Jews in the Final Solution in Nazi Europe. But while the Nazis tried to hide their Final Solution, Hamas terrorists filmed their barbarism to attract more jihadists to join the struggle to eradicate Jews.

As days ago, we again heard calls of “Never Again” from across the world on International Holocaust Memorial Day, we would do well to remember that this year more than ever, we must truly rededicate ourselves to the task of removing the terrible scourge of antisemitism from the world, wherever it may be found.

To do so, we must stop thinking of antisemitism as an eternal and ineradicable disease. It can be defeated, and it can indeed be eradicated. But the elimination of the world’s oldest hate can only come through a concerted, determined and truly global effort of both education — through programs that teach tolerance, empathy, and the historical consequences of discrimination — and eradication, by targeting those funding and disseminating this poison around the world.

Such an effort requires us to admit some uncomfortable truths, and face them head on.

We must, for example, no longer turn a blind eye to how campuses across the US have become stained by the prevalence and recent resurgence of antisemitism. At the same time, we must also recognize that the current prime backer of antisemitic education across the world — Qatar — is also the largest foreign donor to US higher education institutions.

On November 8, 2023, at a school in Mesaieed, southeast Qatar, an imam at a prayer ceremony declared to his throngs of followers: “O Allah, punish the usurping Jews…Give victory to your monotheistic servants in Gaza, O Lord of the Worlds. O Allah, be their helper, supporter, ally, and protector…O Allah, grant us jihad against the Jews with our souls, our wealth, and our words.”

Meanwhile, in Doha, a school exhibition entitled “Gaza in Our Hearts” included a display titled “The Traits of the Jews,” which included arrogant, jealous, deceitful, corrupt, prophet-killers, divided, and polytheistic.

Contrary to its image as a World Cup-hosting, benevolent education-funding country, Qatar uses its $750 billion – $1 trillion worth of assets to spread political Islamism and antisemitism around the world. The country notoriously supports the global Muslim Brotherhood, and antisemitism has been central to the Brotherhood’s ideology since its founding in Egypt in 1928, 20 years before Israel was founded.

Sayyid Qutb, the organization’s chief ideologue, famously wrote a pamphlet called “Our Struggle Against the Jews,” in which he described Jews as a “cosmic Satanic evil.” For Qutb, Jews were a threat to Islam since its foundation and had to be defeated. Today, the Muslim Brotherhood exists in one form or another in more than 70 countries. To all intents and purposes, Hamas is its Palestinian franchise, and it is supported and hosted by Qatar.

Antisemitism is also common in Qatari schools. Qatar only recently, following an expose by the ADL, removed passages from textbooks teaching that “most of the Jews in the world” seek “Jewish control over the entire world.” Generations have been brought up on this. And as late as the 2020-21 school year, a passage from its 7th-grade textbooks for Islamic Studies declared: “Treachery and treason are among the traits of the Jews” and “it is known about the Israelites that they accused their prophets of lying, and killed some of them, because of their bad morals.”

The vile antisemitism that characterizes the Qatari education system is now — with the help of Qatari money — spreading to US campuses. This includes top universities like Georgetown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Virginia Commonwealth, and Texas A&M. At Cornell, following October 7th, a professor said he had been “exhilarated” and “energized” by Hamas’s murderous rampage.

Our ISGAP report, The Corruption of the American Mind, found that students at universities who had accepted undocumented Qatari funding were more likely to report hearing antisemitic and anti-Zionist tropes. This problem is finally being addressed by the US government; in November, the US House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing entitled, “From Ivory Towers to Dark Corners: Investigating the Nexus Between Antisemitism, Tax-Exempt Universities, and Terror Financing.” In addition, the US Department of Education has opened 12 new investigations into the handling of discrimination at colleges and school districts, but these steps will achieve little unless accompanied by measures to prevent Qatar’s spending spree.

The Qataris role in the negotiations over the freeing of Israeli hostages should not blind us to their responsibility for much of contemporary antisemitism, whether it be through Al Jazeera, their funding of US universities, or their ongoing support of Hamas and other Islamist terrorist organizations around the world. The time has come to stop the money.

Their neighboring Gulf states Bahrain and the UAE have chosen a different path of seeking peace and recognition with Israel and have taken active steps to eradicate antisemitism from their countries and further afield. Before the Hamas October pogrom supported by Iran, it seemed that Saudi Arabia was on the verge of formal normalization with Israel, a path it has been on for years.  This is because they understand that antisemitism is not just harmful to Jews, but also to the societies where it festers.

It is time for Qatar to heed this warning and to stop spreading one of the oldest, most pernicious forms of prejudice hate. And in the meantime, it is time for the West to cut off the hand that feeds this phenomenon, and end Qatari funding of US universities.

About the Author
Dr. Charles Asher Small, is the founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (www.isgap.org). He is the author of a five volume book entitled “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity. (ISGAP Publications and Brill Press). He is currently a research scholar at St. Antony's College, Oxford and the Dayan Center for Middle East and African Studies.
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